PAMPLICO, S.C. -- At Hannah-Pamplico High School, students can earn both high school and college credit without leaving high school grounds.
Neal Vincent, the Florence County School District Two superintendent, said the school’s early college program is growing in popularity. This school year, there are 23 dual-credit courses offered. That number has more than doubled since the 2015-16 school year.
Courses include mechatronics, automotive technology, masonry, English, accounting, math, marketing and biology.
Most dual-credit classes gain students credit at either Francis Marion University or Florence-Darlington Technical College.
Many high school instructors have received additional training and certification. For example, Durwin Bass Jr. is an automotive instructor and adjunct professor at Florence-Darlington Technical College. Bass said high school students have access to similar technology and equipment that they would in college – whether it’s a used car or a starter system trainer.
“We mirror their classes,” Bass said. “They have the same equipment that Florence-Darlington Tech has.”
Bass said that most of his students during the 2016-17 school year applied their dual credit in college and are still pursuing automotive studies.
Colton Mims, a senior at Hannah-Pamplico, plans to attend Francis Marion University in the fall and major in industrial engineering. He said taking dual-credit courses helped prepare him for college, and he even competed in a national robotics competition because of his dual-credit studies.
“I’ve had a really good experience,” Mims said. “I feel like it’s been really beneficial to me.”
Katina Davis, the science department chairwoman at Hannah-Pamplico, said she facilitates learning, but her dual-credit classes are mostly student-led, project-based learning.
“It’s a little bit more hands-on, a little bit more responsibility for them, but it builds their understanding,” Davis said.
Students taking engineering classes also participate in a hands-on learning approach, from designing a part and making it with a 3-D printer to building a robotics surgical arm.
With the establishment of an early college program two years ago, students at Hannah-Pamplico are gaining college credit and fine tuning their career goals.